Who We Are
Mile End Chavurah is an inclusive, irreverently pious, intergenerational community that is re-imagining religious practice and re-inventing urban Jewish community. For ten years we have been building a multi-generational grassroots community where everyone is encouraged to participate in both honouring and re-invigorating Jewish tradition.
In the summer of 2009, ten people sat down in a café in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal and spoke about our need to reconnect to Jewish community. Many felt estranged from mainstream Jewish institutions, and didn’t have much Judaism in their lives — yet wanted to be with other Jews and explore their Jewishness.
Mile End Chavurah has since grown into a vibrant and creative community. Almost three hundred of us celebrate the High Holy Days and Passover; we gather for countless Shabbatot in venues large and small, we ask challenging questions about Jewish identity and culture in salons; and the parents among us have developed a progressive Jewish education program for their children— some of whom have graduated to our brand new B’nei Mitzvah class.
We are a diverse community committed to creating spaces for Jewish study, culture, prayer, celebration, and acts of social justice; progressive, curious, egalitarian, inclusive, and constantly evolving. Our inclusive, thoughtful, and open approach to Jewish tradition reflects our desire to create the biggest and most welcoming tent possible. MECh brings Judaism back to Jews through a creative and participatory engagement with traditional rituals.
We are committed to honouring tradition by bringing it alive in new ways: our goal is to re-imagine Jewish texts and rituals in a way that engages Jews of all kinds of religious, atheist, or uncertain orientation. We see ourselves re-inventing progressive and egalitarian Jewish rituals for all our life-cycle events: from birth to death, and from coming of age to union ceremonies. We believe that participation—even more than belief—can transform lives, invest our experiences with meaning, and build the nourishing Jewish community that so many seek. We lead and teach each other; we are committed to egalitarianism and inclusivity. We are non-denominational, but inspired by the ideals of the Chavurah movement, progressive Judaism and Jewish Renewal.
Our Vision of Our Future
We are ready to expand our community and create a home for more unaffiliated Jews who have yet to find the right community for them. We envision our own home: a consistent space in which to gather regularly and build a stable and sustainable community. And with more human resources, we can both provide more innovative programming and improve our outreach, so that we can connect with those who will be inspired by our inclusive, progressive values. As we expand, we want to become a hub that connects Jews across the city, bringing disconnected Jews into contact with progressive possibilities of Jewish life in Montreal.